The last question that changed my life

I went to lunch with a group of professionals last week. They all had 15, 20, 30+ years of experience in their fields. I pushed food around my plate when they talked “experience.” My boss had invited me along to introduce me to these people as a way to make my new position known, in hopes that when any of them find someone looking for Marketing Consulting, they think of me.

They spent the lunch telling me what they did and offering me sound advice on what to do/not to do at a networking event. I nodded my head as each one brought up a new point and filed it away into my arsenal of networking knowledge. I was really appreciative of their insight and wisdom in the matter.  And then one of them asked me a question, and suddenly all eyes were on me, waiting for me to share something useful.

He asked, “What goes through your head when you walk into a networking meeting?”

My initial thought was to lie. Not on purpose, but just so that I could respond quickly. Because I realized I didn’t have an answer. I’d never thought about that before. I decided to be honest, and took a second to think.

“When I walk into a room full of 200 or 300 people, I think about how intimidating it is to be amidst people with so much more experience than me. It’s sort of terrifying.”

I was surprised as they all chimed in about why that is the last thing I should be thinking, not only because it squashes my confidence, but because it simply isn’t true.  Each of them took a few seconds to explain why I am the person in the room that matters.  And with each of their answers, and even the very fact that he asked, it was clear to me that this fear was rooted in falsity.

A good question can do that to you.  You just have to allow yourself the time to reflect and answer honestly.  It can change your life; even in the smallest way.